The opening of the Te Papa style walk-through exhibition of the Battle of Gate Pa will now be on Saturday, due to delays in its completion.
The exhibition in the Greerton Village Hall was originally planned to open on April 24, but exhibition director Tereora Crane says funding came in late.
The opening of the Battle of Gate Pa exhibition will now take place on Saturday.
“We just felt that the exhibition wasn’t complete. The public that make the effort to come and see the exhibition deserve to see a fully completed and installed exhibition,” says Tereora.
“It’s a crucial story and a lot of people have got stakes in it and the city has a stake in it. We thought we would just admit we didn’t have enough time to fully complete, and to just take a couple of days to really get it right and really hit it on Saturday.
“The timeframe was down to funding, it came in late and that’s pretty much it. We accessed funding late and that’s the main issue.”
There are more than 100 people working on the exhibition, which is a multi-media walk-through exhibition telling the story of the battle from the viewpoints of two protagonists.
Greerton Hall will be transformed into an exhibition where people walk two pathways leading to a model of the field of battle - one that follows the story of a Maori warrior and the other a colonial soldier.
Trust member Terry Molloy says it’s the first time an exhibition of this size has been attempted to explain the battle.
Tauranga City Councillor Terry Molloy recently said that Tauranga City is built on the battle, which had its 150 year commemoration on Tuesday.
“It has a huge impact on the Maori of Tauranga, who lost their economic base. It had a huge impact on their cultural and spiritual base, virtually made them landless people for a while and they struggled for a long, long time.
“Most of Tauranga doesn’t understand the story the significance of that story, the sacrifices Maori had to make as a result of it. The story needs to be told, needs to be understood.”
The Battle of Gate Pa is the founding narrative of the city of Tauranga, and few people know about it, says Tereora.
For Tauranga to grow as a centre there had to be European settlement, which didn’t happen in numbers until after the Battles of Gate Pa, Te Ranga and subsequent land seizures.
“Without that battle there wouldn’t have been that European settlement,” says Tereora. “People have not engaged about the story because of the emotions involved. I don’t think we have time any more to be gentle about it.”
The exhibition opens on Saturday and remains open for three weeks.